See how trapped schoolchildren used their mobile phones to get rescued in Kent


Dozens of schoolchildren trapped on a beach by the rising tide were rescued by helicopter and lifeboats after using their mobile phones as distress beacons.

The 34 teenagers were plucked from a hazardous stretch of the coast often beset by falling rocks after getting lost during a walk on Monday night, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

The hiking party from Ahavas Yisroel Community Centre in London - including two adults - raised the alarm with Kent Police at around 9pm after becoming disorientated as they followed a coastal path between St Margaret's Bay and Dover Harbour.

UK Coastguard senior maritime operations officer Richard Cockerill said: "The group was advised to switch on their mobile phone lights to help us locate them.

"The group was located by one of the Walmer lifeboats in an area of active cliff falls and also spotted by the helicopter using the forward-looking infra-red camera. All 36 people were recovered to safety by lifeboat and helicopter."

When RNLI teams arrived at the scene they found the group had separated and four students were unaccounted for.

the teenagers stranded on the beach
(Maritime & Coastguard Agency/PA)

A small craft was launched to pick up the pupils in groups as crews searched for the missing teenagers, who were found after shouting to rescuers from the rocks.

By the end of the rescue mission, 31 of the walkers were rescued by lifeboat and taken ashore. The remaining five were lifted to safety by helicopter and flown to the Dover Coastguard station.

All were accounted for by 11pm, the Coastguard said. The walkers were assessed by the South East Coast Ambulance Service, although none required hospital treatment.